Playing with playdough

Are you looking for fun learning activities to help entertain your family? If so, you are in luck — the MFNERC Occupational Therapy team has some exciting projects on the way, including some playdough fun! Playdough is a perfect playtime activity for developing children’s fine motor skills. We are sharing an easy to follow recipe, along with interactive games and ideas.

What are Fine Motor Skills?

Using your hands for small movements like holding a pencil, cutting, picking up beads or coins, and doing up buttons and zippers.

Playdough can help to develop fine motor skills, strengthen hands and improve bilateral coordination (using both hands together).

Playdough Activities to strengthen fine motor skills

  • Roll dough between hands to make long snakes
  • Roll dough between both hands to make a ball
  • Roll small balls between thumb, index and middle fingers
  • Cut with scissors or a knife
  • Cut with cookie cutters or press into dough to make handprints
  • Pinch the play dough off into small pieces using fingers or tweezers
  • Decorate the playdough with beads, straws, rocks etc.
  • Use a rolling pin with both hands to roll out playdough
  • Squish the playdough between one or both hands

Play Skill Development: Playdough


  • Write a list of steps on the board or provide visual directions that your child can follow 
    • Ex. To work on planning, following directions and taking turns you may tell them 4 shapes they have to make, but only have 1 of each shape available you and your child to share. 
  • Sit with your child and play together.
    • Works on sharing, taking turns, problem-solving, communication and planning
  • Encourage communication with your child about what they are creating, planning, or thinking
    • Works on communication, joint attention, taking turns, problem-solving, creativity, planning and following directions
  • Clean up as a class to work on time management, organization and following directions


  • Make playdough from scratch as a family by following a recipe
  • Ask your child to create objects out of playdough, then show them to each other 
  • Work together to make animals, people, food, etc.
  • Play restaurant: make pretend food and cut playdough with fork and knife
  • Hide beads and rocks to find the buried treasure

Playdough Supplies and Ingredients

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